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Tag Archives: Education

On Friday I passed out study guides/reviews for this week’s upcoming final exams.  150 questions, multiple choice, with the answers attached.  I told them to be sure to work them over the weekend and ask questions Monday.

Quite a few students asked if I was going to work the problems in class.

No.  I’ll answer specific questions, but I’m not working all the problems.  Wtih 150 questions that would be impractical. 

But…  but… you’re not going to teach us how to do these?

Well, lil’ darlin’s, that’s what I spent the last 175 days doing.  That’s why you took notes.  That’s why you have a textbook. 

But… but… you’re the teacher, teach us how to do this.

You don’t understand.  I’ve already taught you.  Now its your turn.  Show me what you’ve learned.

This isn’t fair.  You HAVE to teach us.

I am teaching you.  I’m teaching you that at some point you have to do it on your own.

How do you do problem number 1?

How do YOU do problem number 1?  If you have a specific question, go ahead and ask.  How do you do the problem is not a specific question.  A specific question is, “when I worked this this is the answer I got.  where did I make a mistake?” 

This isn’t fair.  Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.

I’m going to have give Mr. Johnson a call.  Mr. Johnson is the substitiute I use occasionally during the year.  On days that I don’t feel like teaching I post the following note on the wall:

Hello, my name is Mr. Johnson.  Mr. W wasn’t feeling well and had to go home.  He left work for you.  I am not a math person, I majored in History, so if you have any questions, I can’t help.  Please do your work quietly.  Thanks.

Then I sit at my desk and only answer to the name Mr. Johnson.  I even had the computer tech guy make me an ID badge with the name Mr. Johnson.  The first time I do this it takes the kids awhile to catch on.  Then they’ll kinda play along.

You sure look like Mr. W.  —  Yeah people tell me that all the time.  I’ve got more hair than him though.
Hey, if your a history major, what (random history question)?  — Well, (correct answer to their history question, I mean really, how hard is high  school history?)
The kids will try real hard to trip me up, but I can usually make it through.

If you’re a fellow teacher reading this, Mr/Mrs Johnson comes in handy for those days you just can’t bring yourself to teach.  Try it some time, it can be fun.



Not funny today…

I’ve got a kid, a senior, in my algebra 2 class, JV.

JV came to me at the beginning of the second semester because last year he passed the first semester of algebra 2 but failed the second.  He is extremely intelligent, when he wants to be.

JV has:

missed class 21 times
been tardy 17 times
pulled a gun on his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend (not at school) and was in jail over a weekend
was beaten severly (at school) by the guy he pulled the gun on
has never once came to class with pencil or paper
has not taken a single note all semester
was caught cheating on two separate tests

I make myself available every morning 45 minutes before the first bell and an hour after school each day.
JV has not once came for extra help.

I’ve talked to his mother on the phone on 9 occasions.  She always says she’ll talk to him, but if she does, it doesn’t do any good.

JV failed my class.

Now, of course, he’s all about, “What I can do to pass your class?”  “I can’t graduate if I don’t pass this class.” His mom has sent me 13 emails in the last two days, “What can he do to pass your class?”  “He’s can’t do summer school because he has financial obligations to the court.”  “He’s already been accepted to NSU, he won’t be able to go if he doesn’t pass your class.”

He’s spent 17 weeks indifferent about his education.  He deserves the failing grade.  I’m not going to pass him just because he’s a senior.

This should be a no-brainer.

Why do I feel so damn guilty?  This sucks.



The administration of my school district has been stressing to the teachers this year that our failure rates are too high .  Now, we can talk about failure rates and the reasons thereof at another time, I just started out with that statement as background for what occurred today.

Today was finals day for my seniors.  I pass out the finals and the scantrons to my students and returned to my desk.  Before I can reclaim my chair the kids are passing their tests papers to the front of each row.  WTF?  When they get all them gathered in the front they pass them all to the right.  That student (who will be referred to as Ringleader) makes a nice neat pile and brings them to my desk.

“Okay, what’s going on here?”  I ask.

The reply from Ringleader?  We know you can’t fail all of us, so we aren’t taking the test.

 I’ll have to admit, I was speechless for a moment.

When I had gathered my wits I decided to talk about the responsibilities that come with being an adult, and how there are consequences to any action, and ask them if they were willing to pay the price for their stand.  But before I started I asked them why they thought I wouldn’t fail all of them.

Ringleader: My mom’s a teacher (I knew that) and she says the principal told her she might get fired if she failed too many kids.

Oh, so you decided I can’t fail you all?

Ringleader: Not unless you want to get fired.

I know I’m a math teacher, but at that point we had a lesson on vocabulary.  I explained to them what tenure was and pointed out that I did indeed possess this attribute.  I let them know plainly that not only could I fail them all, but that I would indeed do so.  I told them that anyone who wanted to go ahead and take the final could pick one up from my desk, and that they had already wasted 15 minutes of class time and would not be given an extension but that it was entirely their decision.

At least they were smart enough to know I was serious.  They all came and got a copy of the test and got to work. 

I’m not sure I’ve ever been more pissed off in class in my entire career.

21st century conversion chart:

1. Ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton
3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope
4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond
5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram
6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong
7. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling
8. Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon
9. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
10. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower
11. Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line
12. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
13. 1 million-million microphones = 1 megaphone
14. 2 million bicycles = 2 megacycles
15. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle
16. 2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds
17. 52 cards = 1 decacards
18. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 FigNewton
19. 1000 milliliters of wet socks = 1 literhosen
20. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
21. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin
22. 10 rations = 1 decoration
23. 100 rations = 1 C-ration
24. 2 monograms = 1 diagram
25. 4 nickels = 2 paradigms

No, not that kinda TA, c’mon…

This is teacher appreciation week.  If you blog, post a tribute to your favorite teacher.  Either your own or one of your kids’.  If you are able to contact that teacher send them a copy.

Trust me, we teachers will never tire of hearing of some good we might have done.  We take it on faith that some seed we’ve planted takes root some day and blooms. 

If you write a tribute to a teacher, and don’t mind if I copy it, let me know.  I’d like to make a page on here for that.



An email I received last year:

Mr. W
I don’t know if you’ll remember me but I had you for Geometry my senior year.  You had us write a paper one time about what our dream job would be
[I do this so when they say, ‘when are we ever gonna use this’, I can tell them].  I wrote that my dream was that I wanted to be a doctor.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to, nobody in family has ever gone to college.  I figured I’d work at Wal-Mart like my mom.  You would always ask me about which college I was going to go to, and I always said OU, because I knew that’s your favorite school, but there was no way that was ever gonna happen.  After I graduated I started working at El Chico.  You came in one day and I waited on you.  You asked me when I was leaving for college and I told you that I wasn’t going to go.  You acted disappointed and told me that I’d never make my dreams come true if I didn’t.  I thought about that for a while and then I went down to CSC [local community college] and signed up for a class.  It took me six years Mr. W, but I graduated last week with a nursing degree.  I’m living my dream, thank you.

And that’s why I teach.

3 more weeks until summer vacation.

That would be 15 days…
or 112.5 hours…
or 6750 minutes…
or 405,000 seconds…

Wait. It would appear that as I go on with this list the time remaining in the school year is approaching infinity. No wonder the damn day seems to never end.

We’ve been giving those good ol’ state mandated tests for the last three weeks (yes, he really did say three weeks). The kids who are testing report to the room they are testing in and the other students go to their designated period at 7:50. The kids who aren’t testing then remain in that room until 11:30.

So, first period is held one day for 3 1/2 hours, second period another day, etc.

Well, as you might imagine the first few days there were kids in the hall like you wouldn’t believe. Our principal has been imploring everyone to help by keeping kids in class, don’t let them go to other rooms, don’t let them go to the gym, etc. As the course of the testing has went on the problem has been getting better and better.

Today was the last day of testing. In our inbox this morning was this message from the principal:

I appreciate everyone’s hard work these last few weeks controlling the kids. Thanks to your diligence we no longer have wondering students in our school.

I guess I’m going to have to go wander around and see if I can find some kids to teach.